Kit Check uses RFID tags to automate hospital medicine inventory

By July 19, 2013
pharmacy kit

Kit Check provides hospitals with a means of checking their pharmacy kit inventory, using RFID tags.

Each step of a patient’s hospital visit potentially represents a health risk. A number of startups are now aiming to reduce these risks by automating a range of tasks and actions. This is what for example the IntelligentM bracelet does, as it checks whether a doctor has washed his/her hands properly. This smart bracelet is thus designed to ensure better hygiene with a view to reducing hospital infections, replacing the old-fashioned job of hygiene supervisor. In the same vein, Kit Check is looking to optimize the monitoring and replenishment of the pharmacy kits – such as pediatric intubation kits or anesthesia kits used in the operating room – which are staged throughout hospitals for the use of doctors and nurses. Figures show that 20% of all hospital kits currently contain expired or incorrect medications. Kit Check, which has just emerged from the RockHealth incubator, equips the kits with RFID tags in order to automate inventory-taking and so reduce risks to patients.

Replacing barcodes with RFID tags

Hospitals’ pharmacy kits are absolutely critical to their operations and require regular and meticulous attention. Each kit or tray is packed with 10 to 200 items, and must be constantly checked in order to identify medications that have expired and replace those that are missing. In general, pharmacy kit replenishment requires a technician and a pharmacist who must scan the barcodes of each medication manually in order to obtain the correct information on expiry, etc. This process takes as much as 20 to 30 minutes per kit. To streamline the process, Kit Check provides an inventory-taking system based on RFID technology, which enables the whole kit to be scanned in a few seconds, reducing overall processing time by an estimated 90%. Each medication is tagged with an RFID tag, after which the complete kit can be put into a Kit Check station which scans all the tags and gathers the relevant data.

Automating inventories to reduce error margin

In the blink of an eye, a technician can thus obtain an overall, immediate view of the stock, spot which medications are out of date and how many need replacing, can correct any stock errors, print out invoices, and so on. Aside from the hardware, the Kit Check software also enables the hospital to keep records on the history of each kit, conduct audits, geolocate the kits throughout the hospital, etc. Kit Check argues that automating inventory-taking reduces error margins and thus reduces risks to patients. Last but not least, the startup claims that once a hospital has been equipped with Kit Check, it will only need one person working on replenishments instead of two. Seven US hospitals are currently using Kit Check, with nine more scheduled for rollout within the next month. The startup has just raised $10.4 million with a view to developing its product, which may help to save some lives.

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